My mother had seven brothers and no sisters. So, every summer, her mother would send her to St. Louis to spend time with her Aunt Connie and Uncle Bill. My mother had four sons and me. So, when I was old enough, I also got to go spend a summer with my Aunt Connie. I remember my mother and me taking the bus and arriving in that big old town late at night, but no one was sleep. My aunt lived on a street full of two-story houses that looked like old, tired men. People sat out on the porches and gossiped and laughed – even at midnight. It was a scary and fascinating sight for a 10-year-old girl from Oklahoma.
My Aunt Connie was a glamorous woman who wore lingerie with feathers around the collar and two-inch slippers, just like in a Bette Davis movie. I was in awe of her. She had seen a lot and done a lot and I got to hear those stories and learn those lessons. One lesson I learned was how to cook. She could make anything. I remember sitting at the table watching her rolling out flour and making dumplings. She’d throw them in the water and add the chicken she had already boiled. Her dumplings were always yellow. I don’t know if she used food coloring or what. I wish I had written down that recipe. That’s why I always get things in writing now. I want to save my memories.
My favorite recipe that Aunt Connie made was Sweet Potato Pie. She would bake her potatoes. She said that boiling took all the flavor out. While the potatoes were baking, she’d make her crust. (Pet Ritz makes mine.) Then, with her cigarette hanging from her mouth, she’d mash the potatoes, add butter, pour in some sugar and beat the mixture. She’d then add milk and eggs. She added nutmeg and cinnamon to taste and at the end she’d add vanilla. She’d pour the mixture into the pie crust and cook it at 300 degrees for about an hour. I have never tasted a better Sweet Potato Pie. I wonder did the cigarette smoke add flavor?
My memories aren’t clear on all her recipes and I regret that. But I saw her make this pie so many times, that I can put it in writing for you. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Pie
4 Medium Sweet Potatoes
2 Stick of Butter
1 Cup of sugar (2 cups if you like it sweet)
6 eggs (They make the pie light and fluffy)
1 small can evaporated milk (I use Pet Milk)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon (Or to Taste)
2 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Pie crusts (Homemade or store bought)
Bake (or boil) the potatoes.
In a bowl, mash the sweet potatoes. Add the butter and sugar and mix well. Add the eggs. Mix well. Add the milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into the two unbaked pie shells. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until filling is set or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool. Now it’s ready to eat!
I like a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.